Norman Rockwell, Art Critic, 1955
What is an art critique?
A time and space to give your classmates critical feedback so they can examine and improve their work and skills.
Why the heck are we doing this?
1. You get feedback on your work.
2. Build your critical thinking skills so you can analyze and articulate your thoughts about art. (As an artist you’re going to need to be able to do that.)
Whether we take other's advice or not–we determine that choice for ourselves and what's best for our artistic expression.
A critique is a place where we are all striving to hear feedback that helps us improve.
This is not a place to dog your peers out.
WHAT DOES THIS LOOK LIKE?
When viewing another artist's work, I challenge you to not make assumptions. So, when you don’t like or don't understand someone's work, ask questions to first form a better understanding of it. An example of this might be:
"I'm interested in the [style/color/medium/composition] you chose to work with, would you tell us a little more why you made that choice?" (Be specific)
On the flip side, be ready to explain your choices and process. I know a lot of the times, as artists, we're instinctual, and we don’t have to think about why we’re doing things, we’re expressing ourselves!
But I challenge you to at least think about your choices after you’ve made your piece. You’ll be prepared to answer questions like these—which will be asked outside of the classroom in the real world.
You are the 'resident expert' of your own artwork.
Consider the Following!
What’s my gut reaction?
If it’s like: "Wow, this is really awesome!"
Feel free to say it—but go a step further and ask
yourself why do I feel this way?
And if you dig just a little deeper, you start to find thoughts like, "The composition is really balanced." or "The colors they chose to use make the piece so rich and inviting."
If your reaction is: "I don’t really like this..."—
same thing, ask yourself why?
Titus Kaphar, “Behind the Myth of Benevolence,” 2014
Moving Past 'Technique'
One skill that isn't often covered in critique, is the ability to speak beyond the technical side of art making. What does this mean?
Viewing art through a socio-political lens.
(or, let's say a human-lens.)
Much of our work is personal. Whatever the subject, the relationship to the artist is very difficult to separate. Keeping that in mind when sharing our work and critiquing other's work is something I'd like us to do.
What does this look like?
It appears in the question, "How would you like your crit?" Then in you to answer that honestly and for all of us to respect that answer.
It can be uncomfortable to discuss ideas outside of the traditional narratives we've learned over the years. But in this class, we will practice, so we can become more comfortable and uncover new narratives and deeper meaning within the art we analyze and critique.
Remember, mistakes are allowed here– and we are all more than capable of making, realizing, and apologizing for our mistakes.